Wednesday, 29 February 2012

A Day in the life of……..

A Day in the life of an run director at Huddersfield parkrun

  • 6am - alarm goes off - hit alarm so it stops
  • 6.10 am - alarm goes off again - what is it with these alarms wanting to get you out of bed?
  • 6.15 am - finally gets out of bed and looks out the window…..great no snow or ice!  Whoop de Whoop!
  • 6.16 am - gets back into bed
  • 6.23 am - littlest daughter creeps into bed for a cuddle with very cold feet (why do children always insist on putting their cold feet all over you?)
  • 6.31 am - cat attacks
  • 6.33 am - finally realises that getting out of bed is going to be the more peaceful option
  • 6.34 am - puts the coffee machine on (Nespresso if you would like to know….the black capsule….need it strong in the morning, tiny bit of hot milk, no sugar)
  • 6.40 am - drinks first cup of coffee - puts a second on - makes the children pancakes for breakfast (this is a novelty following Shrove Tuesday - hopefully it will wear off soon)
  • 6.44am - wipes maple syrup off the walls and the cat - ponders the idea of a third coffee before 7am, breaks up a fight between the two littlest ones over the last pancake by eating it myself (yup I can multi task…I am a woman)
  • 6.50 am - goes to get dressed 

Okay a break in transmission here so I can explain about getting dressed for Huddersfield parkrun.  In normal households on a normal Saturday most people at 6.50 am are in bed, sensibly.

But in a Huddersfield parkrun household on a Saturday morning at 6.50 am we are probably deciding wether to wear a bunny costume (see previous blog for more info on the bunny), wear the bunny on tour t-shirt ( I will blog more about bunnies on tour as well soon), wear a moustache and top hat, superhero costume (although that can fall into the bunny category too), or jeans and a t-shirt….occasionally I have been know to wear running things…..very, very occasionally!    I am not sure where the dressing up and running thing comes from….it could be co-director at parkrun (Chris Smith) who has a HUGE amount of dressing up clothes in his wardrobe….but I think it is more likely that it is just something that you runners like to do!

A selection of some of the more tame parkrun costumes……

Halloween run - Alice in Blunderland costume

Cambridge parkrun - proof I can and did run (although this photo was taken before the race started)

From left to right run director Colin as the bunny, Squirrel man, wonder woman and me as the superbunny!

I did try to find a ‘normal’  photo of myself….but failed miserably!

So as you can see…..It can take more that a few minutes to get dressed….and times that by the five (six if Grandad Peter comes) people in our house that go to parkrun….it can take some time!

Anyhow….back to the blog……let’s assume it is a ‘normal’ parkrun day…..

  • 7 am - puts make up on - now I know this is a bone of contention with runners, and not just the ladies out there…..but really, I have to wear makeup at that time in the morning or I will scare the squirrels out of the trees (or some kind of local saying like that!).
  • 7.05 am - (it doesn’t take that long to put the make up on …..I’m not that bad looking) remembers to feed the cats as maple syrup isn’t really cat food
  • 7.15 am - speaks to Chris for the first time that day about the 'whoop de whoop no ice' observation
  • 7.20 am - shouts at the teenager for the first time to get out of bed
  • 7.20 and a little bit am - shouts at the husband for the first time to get out of bed
  • 7.21 am shouts at the littlest children to get dressed and not in beach shorts and cinderella shoes as the weather isn’t quite right for that kind of clothing
  • 7.23 am - realises that I have left the first cup of coffee of the day to go cold - curses just a little bit
  • 7.30 am - shouts for the second time for the teenager to get out of bed, threaten the husband with sending the dogs in if he doesn’t get out of bed
  • 7.40 am - sends the dogs in to get the husband out of bed
  • 7.41 am - husband gets out of bed, mumbles something about ‘life before parkrun’ and hits the shower
  • 7.45 am - sends the second littlest daughter back up stars to get changed out or the harem pants and a crop top, listens to the mini teenager stomp up the stairs mumbling something about ‘life before parkrun
  • 7.50 am - shouts a the teenager that if he doesn’t get up out of bed right now, then not only will he have to run the 5k, he will also have to run to the park!  Teenager gets out of bed and mumbles something about ‘life before parkrun
  • 7.50 am - 8am are spent looking for trainers, ipod covers, car keys, water bottles, insulated coffee mug and of course those pesky, why can’t we put them somewhere we can find them, barcodes!
  • 8.01 am - leave the house
  • 8.02 am - return to the house for those pesky barcodes
  • 8.03-8.15 am spend arguing about the music to play in the car… it seems to be a choice of Coldplay, Imelda May, Eric Clapton, High School Musical, The Specials or Mamma Mia …..ashamed to say Mamma Mia wins!!
  • 8.15 am - thankfully arrive at the park and the music stops!
  • 8.16 am - say hello to the cafe owners and order a coffee…mmmmm…….coffee
  • 8.17 am - 8.30 am spent erecting the gazebo (aka the love shack), chalking the start and finish signs and laughing at Chris…..sorry, with Chris
  • 8.30 am - the first of the volunteers arrive
  • 8.31 am - 8.50 am - back to being a multi tasking woman, organising the marshals, making sure the equipment works, trying to find the bunny costume, saying no to the children, trying to find my now cold coffee, laughing with Chris, taking a few photos, saying no to the teenager, testing the megaphone, being shouted at for testing the megaphone in Chris’s ear, laughing at Chris, saying hello to regular parkrunners, catching up on the gossip, saying hello to tourist parkrunners, saying hello to friends…….
  • 8.50 am - first timer brief
Okay….another break in transmission …….you can go and get a coffee if you want and maybe a piece of cake……we are a few hundred words in at only done a couple of hours so this could take some time… favourite cake is ginger, just in case you are thinking of sharing……..

Why are we having a break again……….oh yes…….to let you know what I like about the first timer brief…..I think is one of my favourite jobs at parkrun.  It is great to see who has come to visit you from other parkruns (parkrun tourists) and meet those brand spanking new to parkrun.  We normally have between 10 and 30 first timers at any parkrun and these few minutes give us time to welcome them in a small group and explain about how the parkrun works.  If we have someone new to running we introduce them to our 40 min pacer who will help them round the course.  It’s a chance for them to ask questions and for us to give sensible answers…..we can do that sometimes!

Have you got your cake and coffee?  Are we ready to go?…….okay then…….

  • 8.55 am - mad dash to the start line…..actually more of quick walk as it’s only about 150 yds from the cafe and as explained in previous blogs….I am not a runner!
  • 8.55 am - 9am  - Run brief - with my beautiful megaphone!  Those of you who have experienced Huddersfield parkrun will know just how much I love my megaphone and my megaphone loves me……..megaphone and me, sitting in a tree, K, I, S, S, I, N, G!
  • 9am - Shouts loudly through the megaphone……"3,2,1 GO…….have a great parkrun”
  • 9.05 am - now I know this is a little sad, but during the first loop at Huddersfield parkun, just as the runners are coming back up towards the start line, you are nicely spread out but still in a group and there are a couple of us that like to count you (one of them is me and one of them the single, tall, handsome, young man we are trying to find a date for - fingers crossed following the last blog that there maybe some movement in that area - thank you to all of you who emailed in)……just to see if we have beat the course record…..I did warn you that it was a little bit sad and geeky!
  • 9.06 am - 9.15 am - time to get coffee, heckle (encourage) the lovely parkrunners and wait for the first runner to cross the line.
  • 9.16 am - 9.45 am  - back to multi tasking woman (actually…... how do you male ED’s do it?)  checking to make sure that all is well, helping out with scanning, shouting SHAZAM as runners cross the line, explaining to those being lapped that running that fast really isn’t normal, chatting with friends, asking people how the run went, trying to find my coffee, trying to remember when I saw the children last, shouting SHAZAM a few more times, getting a bit excited as the course record is broken, getting even more excited as age graded record smashed by the the loveliest runner in the world, drinking cold coffee (needs must), realising that I haven’t seen the kids for forty minutes, looking for the kids, find the kids in a  bush heckling parkrunners and eating ice cream, leave the kids in the bush (easy option), shout SHAZAM a couple more times and applaud the last runner across the line
  • 9.50 am - go to the cafe for coffee and cake with friends!

Another break…..but a short one, so you haven’t time to grab another coffee

At Huddersfield parkrun - the tradition of coffee and cake

I am not sure if this is the same at every parkrun around to world, but at Huddersfield you have to consume cake and coffee once you have finished, I think it is in the park by-laws….or that’s the excuse that I am sticking too.  Our cafe is great and you can have all different types of coffee and they specially bake cakes just for parkrunners….so it would be rude not to eat them.

Also at Huddersfield, there really is no hurry to upload the results straight away (apologies to those who like a text before they have left the park).  We like to socialise and have a good chin wag, catch up and gossip……then we upload the results.

  • 10.30 am - FIND THE KIDS
  • 10.35 am - start to upload the results
  • 10.41 am - finish uploading the results (once, okay, once, we managed to upload the results in 6.09 minutes a PB for the volunteer team….we are just as competitive as you runners in our own way…’s not happened since, but we are always hoping for a new sub 6 min PB!)
  • 10.45 am - upload the volunteers so they get a lovely big fat thank you from us and parkrun!  You volunteers really are super super great!
  • 10.50 am - another coffee - no cake though - and chat with any remaining parkrunners
  • 11 am - leave the park
The rest of the day is spent chatting on Facebook, checking the results, maybe amending the results, children’s swimming lessons, walking the dog, cooking, walking the dog again, family movie with toffee popcorn, coffee, wine, maybe a gin….and if I am really lucky it’s also social night with the parkrunners… I get to see you all over again!

So, become and ED or RD or volunteer or parkrunner and join in the fun….you don’t have to loose your children, you don’t have to drink coffee or eat cake, you don’t need to spend as much time as we do at the park…..but one thing I will guarantee you, is that you will meet incredible people, go on an incredible journey and have an incredible amount of fun!

  • midnight - sleep before I turn into a pumpkin…..or something like that!


  1. Another Awesome blog and very accurate account of Huddersfield parkrun! I'd write my own version but it would just be full of 'get Kerry another coffee, knowing she will never finish it' and 'keep an eye on Kerry's kids who are in a bush eating ice cream'and 'laugh at/with Kerry' and a great deal of 'getting as giddy as Kerry does when we see how many people have dragged themselves out of a lovely warm bed at stupid o'clock in the morning just like us!' Oh, and shouting SHAZAM a lot! Not sure what you meant by "life before parkrun" though....Chris X

  2. Brilliant Kerry!
    Sounds just like organised chaos, a bit like my household sometimes.
    Couldn't drink that much coffee though or I'd be living in the
    As for me, my favourite cake is carrot cake, but I'm rubbish at baking.
    Fab blog though, think you and the other organisers are stars for making parkrunners and their supporters, like me who don't/can't run, experience so much fun. Thanks x

  3. Excellent! What is this "life before parkrun" tho? lol Amanda x

  4. Chris ... are you Anonymous because you are currently writing this from your park in Barbados :)


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